Botched circumcisions and the death of young initiates remain the thorn in the flesh of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL). The minimal role played by some parents and communities during initiation season, also remains a cause for concern.
Many of the deaths occurred due to illegal circumcision schools, assault, starvation dehydration of initiates and poor communication with parents about the health conditions of the initiates. To this end, members of House have undertaken awareness campaigns targeting the areas most affected by the death of then initiates namely, Nyandeni, Ntabankulu, Port St Johns, Ngquza Hill, Mbizana and areas of Chris Hani and Amathole District Municipalities.
The community engagement campaign which started from 12-16 May 2014 are geared towards encouraging ownership and participation of parents, key stakeholders and communities at large in the traditional initiation ritual. Led by the Chairperson of the ECHTL Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima and other members of eh Executive Committee, the teams will empower communities, parents and traditional leaders about their roles and responsibilities pre, during and post the initiation season. Training sessions for amakhankatha (traditional nurses), iingcibi (traditional surgeons) will also be conducted. The House will also encourage communities to set up pre initiation youth camps, rescue centres as well as community mobilisation through dialogue sessions.The provision of psychological and social support for the prevention, early intervention, statuary services and continuity of care, training of forums is art of the programme.
Nkosi Matanzima said: “Parents and communities must always occupy their rightful place in the initiation process to ensure that no lives are lost. The safety of the initiates is everyone’s responsibility. These are the future leaders of our country hence we regard this traditional ritual in the context of the nation building project. Let us work together to ensure the safe passage of our boys to manhood and become responsible citizens. ”Members of the public are advised to report abuse of initiates and illegal initiation schools to the South African Police Services (SAPS) on 10111.
For enquiries, please contact Mr Mamnkeli Ngam on 0824147742 or Mr Welile Jack on 082 559 6183.